Milk thistle is a plant that has been used for over two millenniums as a natural treatment for liver ailments. It is scientifically known as Silybum marianum, although the most famous names include holy thistle, or St. Mary thistle. The milk thistle plant can be annual and sometimes biennial and can grow up to ten feet tall with its distinctive features being the bright colored flowers that are red and purple.
The plant derives its name from the white fluid that resembles milk, which comes out of the crushed leaves. Milk thistle originates from the southern part of Europe, Russia, Asia and northern parts of Africa with naturalization in North and South America.
The first people to discover the uses of milk thistle were the Europeans. They used the plant as a form of herbal treatment for common liver disorders. The plants benefits have since spread to all over the world to modern times. Research and studies done over the years has established the mechanisms involved and the medicinal properties of milk thistle in liver ailments and non-liver related disorders. The liver related conditions that are treated with the plant include:
The extraction process
The extraction process involves dissolving the extract in a suitable solvent after crushing the leaves. Such solvents include water, which is readily available and has no harmful effects. One can also use alcohol that mostly evaporates when ingesting the extract with hot water. One of the advantages of using alcohol is that it transports the fluid directly into the bloodstream and the liver.
How it works
The active ingredient found in milk thistle is silymarin, which is a complex element of bioflavonoid. It provides the major ingredients that have health benefits. It contains three flavonoids that include silybin, silydianin and silychristin. Milk thistle works by stabilizing the cell membrane while fastening protein synthesis, which leads to regeneration of destroyed liver tissues. The extract also prevents the entry of harmful substances by removing toxins from liver cells. This property makes it important in IV chelation, which involves removal of metals such as mercury. Just like other flavonoids, milk thistle has antioxidant properties that enable it to keep the body healthy and energized by preventing the harm caused by radicals and peroxidation.
Milk thistle is an herbal remedy that contains natural ingredients that make it gentle on the body. In comparison with other remedies that have harsh side effects, this extract has no toxins. Milk thistle reduces glutathione side effects due to its mild nature. The extract is also essential for a patient receiving prp therapy since the liver is the storage site for Iron.